Union Government approves use of chilli-based PAVA shells as alternative to pellet guns

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has approved the use of Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide (PAVA) shells as an alternative to pellet guns for crowd controlling in Jammu and Kashmir.
PAVA sheels also called Nonivamide are chilli-filled grenades. They are less lethal compared to pellet guns and immobilises the target temporarily rather than causing physical injury.
Key Facts

  • The PAVA shells contain Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide, an organic compound (also known as Nonivamide) found in chilli pepper. It derives its name from the compound.
  • It causes severe irritation and paralyses for a short duration It is considered to be bio-safe and less lethal than pellet guns but equally effective.
  • The PAVA shells once fired burst out to temporarily stun, immobilise the target (protesters) in a more effective way compared to tear gas shell or pepper sprays.
  • However, MHA has not completely banned use of Pellet Guns and they will be used in rarest of rare cases to control violent crowd.


  • The approval for use of PAVA shells was based on recommendation of seven-member Expert Committee headed by TVSN Prasad, Joint Secretary of MHA.
  • The committee was constituted to explore other possible alternatives to Pellet Guns as Non-lethal Weapons.
  • Pellet guns had gained widespread attention and criticism after more than 1,000 protestors had sustained injuries especially in the eyes during the clashes with security forces.
  • The clashes in the Kashmir valley had erupted following the killing of notorious terrorist and commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani in July 2016.



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